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My dearest first born, Brynn.

A little over seven years ago, you went to what could some call an "instrument petting zoo", where you tried various instruments, seeing which one would be best for you. When you squawked that double reed, I knew that oboe was your spirit instrument.

You took to it so well. You're a perfectionist. You're a hard worker. You do great at whatever you set your mind on. Little did I know how far you would go. Your 2nd year, you joined the jazz ensemble at your middle school, learning how to play the tenor sax. With great teaching and a little perseverance you impressed us as your parents and those listening with how well you sounded - all the while earning all-city and all-region honors for oboe. Then we moved to Houston. We thought, oh well she can play tenor sax in the marching band in her new high school. Little did we know that the band did not march tenor saxes. So what did you do? You decided to learn a completely NEW instrument - cymbals. What did you do? You excelled yet again. You learned a new instrument and new way of walking and did it the same way you always do - really, really well. You even made the top band in your 6A school for concert season.

Then the next two years you are section leader for the cymbals, all while keeping you straight A streak going in difficult classes. Whatever you do, you work your butt off. We've never had to push you to well at school. That intrinsic motivation will take you far.

Late junior year, you were going back and forth on whether to try out for drum major. You didn't want to leave your friends, but ultimately you decided that you would still keep your friends and serve the band through being a drum major. Thankfully you not only earned that drum major spot, but you became head drum major.

Being a drum major may sound prestigious, and it is, but is also very difficult. You are representing not only yourself, but the directors to the kids, and the kids to the directors. Many times you were caught in a poop storm. However, you represented yourself in a graceful and loving manner. You helped people learn, you helped them grow. Here's the thing: when you help others grow and achieve, you also grow and achieve. What I've seen from you the past 7 years has been nothing short of amazing. The growth musically from that first squawk to this year playing 1st oboe on Elsa's Procession AND Sorcerer's Apprentice?!?! My goodness! You've had amazing teachers, but that growth is because of you and your hard work. You have gifts and you have used them to the best of your ability. You are tenacious, you are smart, you are kind to others, you are full of grace, if not that graceful :)

You have made your mom and I so proud of you. We have always said that we don't know what we did right, but we hope to not screw it up. Thinking back on that, I know the one thing we did right. We became your parents. You did the rest. Thank you for the last 7 years. We can't wait to see what the next 4+ years of college bring, but if they are anything like what has happened, its going to be amazing. We love you so much.

All of these things I didn't do, so do them and learn from the mistakes I've made:

1) Your focus is on teaching students music, not teaching music to students. They come first.

2) Remember that students have lives outside of class. Not every kid thinks band is life.

3) Communicate clearly, calmly and effectively with parents from the first instant you know you'll have their kid. Facts are good. Opinion and emotion is best kept to one's self.

4) Keep the principal in the loop on everything.

5) If you are an assistant, be in the other classes with the director unless told not to. Be a team player.

6) If a head director, be in the other classes as much as possible.

7) Building the program comes from the beginners. Seeing them on a regular basis is imperative

8) Don't be an a-hole.

9) Once you have schedules, get it on the master calendar at your school/district

10) Do your own budget. Don't let the business office do it for you.

11) Control your emotions.

Thank you so much for finding the ALL-NEW Yellowboard! The premier place for Texas band directors to collaborate, to discuss the trade and most of all to help students love music. In the coming weeks there will be more and more added to this site, and we're always open to new and fun ideas. So bookmark, stop by frequently and don't be afraid to say hi!

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